ON your marks, get set, go back to sleep. That’s my mantra for a Sunday morning.

I’m happy to get up at God knows what time in the week, and even a Saturday can be worth an early rise depending what the day has in store.

But Sundays for me are sacrosanct, the day of rest, a weekly gearshift when even the redlining monolith of Tesco doesn’t open until at least 10am.

And so hats off to all the BFP readers, and non-readers for that matter, who are taking on the London Marathon this weekend.

It’s difficult to imagine running 26 miles, and even more inconceivable to crawl that extra .2 they tack on the end as a cruel joke.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no slob, and I’m happy to jog on a treadmill for a couple of miles, a couple of times a week (and feel jolly proud of myself for doing it).

But the nearest I ever got to the marathon was dragging myself out of bed in time to see the stragglers in diving suits plod by when the course passed the end of my street in Deptford a few years ago.

The dedication it must take to see out the final few miles is laudable, incredible even.

I interviewed Eddie Izzard after he had completed 43 marathons in 51 days, and he told me the biggest part of the challenge is mental, not physical. Who am I to argue with his track record – though it must have something to do with your legs, just a tiny bit.

My esteemed newsdesk colleague Andy Carswell can attest to that, after needing a wheelchair to get him back to the car when his lower body all but gave up after finishing the Milton Keynes marathon (in 4hrs, 3 mins I am encouraged to add).

The BFP has followed the story of mum-of-two Sarah Parfitt from Cookham, who knows all about the ravaging effects of marathon running on the body.

The journalist, who has completed the London race 13 times, will be forced to hang up her marathon-running shoes after Sunday’s course having been warned by doctors following a nasty cartilage tear two miles from the finish last year.

An inspiration to amateur athletes everywhere, Sarah is using her last race to drum up support to fight child poverty in Ethiopia and recently travelled to help the community in Gende Tesfa.

And the dedicated runner is using the international language of athletics to help a marathon-mad but desperately poor country where some can only dream of a handy water station every mile.

Sarah’s story is replicated throughout south Bucks and the entire country as runners, some fit, some not so fit, some dressed as a banana and others not dressed as a banana, limber up for the daunting spectacle.

Now in its 35th year, the marathon has become a repository for a whole heap of good, with over a quarter of a billion pounds raised in the last four years alone.

It is very hard to find something to dislike about this institution, this celebration of the best, brightest, healthiest and most philanthropic sides to the oft-maligned capital.

And those of you off to the start line this weekend will be glad to know that at least you can rest your feet for free on the way home.

Chiltern Railways are laying on complimentary travel for all competitors and are running extra early bird services on Sunday – just show your pass to station staff.

So if you’re vying for a world record, a personal best or simply the satisfaction of completing what you have split blood, sweat and tears to achieve, good luck to you all. I’ll be watching. From bed.